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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A graphic novel noir tour-de-force
"Parker: The Hunter"
Written by Richard Stark
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke
(IDW, 2009)
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Wow. I'm already a fan of comicbook artist Darwyn Cooke (wish he had more books out!) but I gotta say, this adaptation of a gritty noir novel by author Richard Stark really floored me. The first chapter of the book is...
Published on September 20, 2009 by DJ Joe Sixpack

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing but not a patch on the orginal
what in the original prose comes across as tight minimalist story telling here lacks the structure to hold the attention. One would think adding pictures would aid the story but I am not sure I would have appreciated the plot if I had not read the Stark version in full. An interesting revisit but not much more.
Published 10 months ago by Kindle Customer


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A graphic novel noir tour-de-force, September 20, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
"Parker: The Hunter"
Written by Richard Stark
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke
(IDW, 2009)
----------------------------------------------
Wow. I'm already a fan of comicbook artist Darwyn Cooke (wish he had more books out!) but I gotta say, this adaptation of a gritty noir novel by author Richard Stark really floored me. The first chapter of the book is told almost entirely without words, transforming the taut, cynical prose into pure imagery, as we are introduced to the book's steely, taciturn, utterly immoral antihero -- Parker -- who counterfeits and backstabs his way through the recesses of New York City, circa 1962, hellbent on revenge. It's a real tour-de-force of visual storytelling, but even when the text kicks in, the book never feels cluttered. From start to finish, this graphic novel is a real page-turner... Hopefully there'll be a follow-up soon! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another brilliant work, July 17, 2009
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Darwyn Cooke is a modern master of graphic storytelling , just one look at his Eisner awarded works and you know why ...and thats why its no small thing for me to honestly say that The Hunter is one of the finest works of his career.
If you are a Richard Stark fan, this is a fantastic addition and homage to the man's work on every level.
It's a hit from page one and will turn anyone not into graphic art or the crime genre right into an instant fan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing too comical about this comic book, December 1, 2009
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This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Beautifully adapted version of the classic Richard Stark thriller, "The Hunter", the first in the long-running crime novel series featuring the hardnosed professional thief known simply as "Parker". Darwyn Cooke's detailed art- stylish yet gritty- and the dark prose- mostly sparse, sometimes dense, always sharp- draws the reader right in as Parker undertakes his visceral, often shocking mission of revenge following a doublecross that left him for dead. This is the first of a proposed series of illustrated adaptations, with Mr. Cooke cherry picking his favorite installments from the "Parker" novels and adapting them into handsomely-produced hardback graphic novels of generous length (this one's about 170 pages). After reading this graphic novel, readers may be tempted to immediately pick up the prose novels featuring Parker's next adventures (recently reprinted in new editions) instead of waiting for Mr. Cooke's next adaptation. Do yourself a favor: get both.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come visit Parker but keep your damn mouth shut!, November 21, 2009
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This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Richard Stark's Parker hit you like a shot gun blast decades ago. Darwyn Cooke's illustrated version finished you off. Your dead.

Cooke's take on the classic two fisted tale of Parker is marvelous! Rarely has the written word been translated so perfectly in this genre. Parker's thirst for revenge is papable, sweaty, and ugly...and you better not turn away! As a long time fan of Cooke's, I had no doubt he was up to the task of depicting Stark's mayhem machine but... wow... this easily surpassed my expectations. The cold blooded black and white artwork is like a sledge hammer on your sleep walking jaw; it's jarring!

If you love the genre, the character, the artist, then come along for the ride...just try not to get blood and bone in your eyes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darwyn Cooke Strikes Gold Again!, March 11, 2010
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This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Darwyn Cooke has put together something really special with Parker: The Hunter. The hardcover edition is absolutely beautiful. The pages are thick and heavy and Darwyn's art jumps off the page at you. I'm a big fan of crime fiction/noir comics, and this is one of the better ones I've read since Brubaker's Criminal.

The tone is dark as Parker tracks down thug after thug who has wronged him. Cooke utilizes mostly whites, blues, an blacks for all of the art to help you feel the mindset of a man who is out to get his money back and will stop at nothing to do so. The cover is full color and completely stunning.

I was unfamiliar with Richard Stark prior to this book. After reading which movies that his books had spawned, I started to get an appreciation for the man realizing that I really like those movies, so I'm anxious to check out his prose versions somewhere down the line, though I've heard that Darwyn will adapt another Parker story to be released in mid-2010.

Though over 100 pages, this book is fast paced and action packed, spurred on by Cooke not using traditional frames within the book, leaving each panel open as a fluid transition into the next. I would have loved for it to take longer to read, but truth be told, I just couldn't put it down. Before I knew it, I was on the fourth chapter, nearing the climax and I forced myself to set it down for the night, though I finished it immediately the following morning. If you're a fan of Brubaker or Bendis's crime work, this ranks right up there with the best.

Darwyn Cooke is one of those special talents who can write (or in this case adapt) a comic and do all of the art for it. It's obvious that he put a lot of heart into this adaptation and greatly respects Richard Stark. Always a pleasure to read a book from someone who has so much love for sequential storytelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a walk on the gritty side, August 28, 2009
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Parker, the professional criminal created by Richard Stark (pseudonym of late mystery writer Donald Westlake), is enjoying a resurgence.

Last year, the prestigious University of Chicago Press began reissuing early novels in the series. Now comes "Parker: The Hunter," a comic-book adaptation of the book that first inflicted Parker on an unsuspecting world. The graphic novel is adapted and drawn by Eisner-award winner Darwyn Cooke, best known for a nostalgic version of 1950s Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman called "The New Frontier."

For "The Hunter," Cooke takes off the rose-colored glasses to render a gritty New York City in 1962. Parker, newly escaped from prison, blows into Manhattan seeking the two people who double-crossed him. In short order, one of the two is dead.

Half the fun of Parker is watching him at work and predicting what he will do and feel next. This should be easy -- he is incredibly amoral -- but isn't. He has no qualms about orchestrating a munitions heist that will put weapons in the hands of South American rebels, but later shows remorse when a beautician he has mouth-gagged aspirates and dies.

Cooke opens the adaptation with a lengthy, almost entirely wordless sequence that shows Parker as the elemental creature he is -- lumbering across the George Washington Bridge, attracting and simultaneously repulsing women drivers, forging a driver's license by hand (ah, the pre-computer days!), and scamming his way into a new suit.

Later, when Cooke fills in Parker's background, the reader may reflect fondly on the wordless tour de force of those opening pages. Slavishly following Stark's plot, Cooke fills the pages with words, almost obliterating the art. The font is difficult to read in large chunks; Cooke's handwritten u's and y's both look like n's, especially when printed in a size slightly smaller than the average comic book.

But another action sequence at the end of the story redeems the adaptation, and Cooke's art -- rendered in black and muted blues, a bruised color palette for a wounded world -- is stunning throughout.

This is the first in a series of graphic-novel adaptations of the Parker series. The second volume is due next summer, as the Parker renaissance continues. In a world of high-rolling, million-dollar corporate thieves, there is something appealing about a guy who commits crime the old-fashioned way, with a gun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Payback, you'll love the Hunter, October 10, 2009
By 
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
If you've seen and liked the movie Payback starring Mel Gibson, but still think comic books are for kids. Well think again!

The Hunter is an adaption of the original Richard Stark novel, done by one of my favorite comic book creators, Darwyn Cooke. The noir genre fits him as a glove and the 50s look is just what this story needs. I can't wait for the next installment.

If you have read this book and want more by Darwyn Cooke, look at his CatWoman and Batman stuff, or dive into the New Frontier. And before you know it, you'll never look at comic books the same way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch Perfect, July 29, 2009
By 
R. Andrew Meger (Salem, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Cooke's art is just so evocative that I find myself wanting to buy another copy of this book so I can slice out some pages and frame them. Even though the story itself is familiar (you may remember Mel Gibson's Payback which is an adaptation of the same story by Richard Stark), Cooke's adaptation had me eagerly turning each page.

Seriously, if you like noir, buy this book. If you like comics like 100 Bullets, buy this book. If you like bold, period stylistic art, buy this book.

Just buy this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A genius adaptation, July 18, 2014
By 
“He hated her. He hated her and loved her and he’d never felt either emotion for anyone before. Never love, never hate, never for anyone.”

-The Hunter, Richard Stark

I loved Illustrated Classics when I was a kid. My elementary school had tons of them ranging from Treasure Island-to-at least a dozen adaptations of various books of the bible. (Remember, folks, this was the late 70’s-early 80’s and I went to a small, conservative rural school of about two-hundred.) I was a comic book kid; my love of reading straight text didn’t really start to blossom until I was around eleven, and pretty much the only way my mom could get me to read was if the book was illustrated and the main character was either Batman, Spiderman, or the Hulk. But my parents weren’t around while I was at school, and since we had library period on a daily basis, I chugged my way through the illustrated classics and ended up loving them, even though I wished the Silver Surfer would make a guest appearance in Moby Dick to warn Captain Ahab that Galactus was making his way to earth.

I’m sure Darwyn Cooke, the artist behind the graphic adaptations of Richard Stark’s (née Donald Westlake) Parker novels, is getting a little sick of hearing the comparisons that his adaptations are the hardboiled crime equivalent of the Illustrated Classics; but, simply put, they are, and denying the connection is pointless.

In case you’ve never read The Hunter—which, if you haven’t, you’re missing out. The Hunter (along with The Friends of Eddie Coyle By George V. Higgins) defined hardboiled crime fiction for multiple generations of writers—is the first book in Stark’s long running series featuring the original hardpan, Parker, the plot is straight forward: Parker gets screwed over and left for dead in a double cross after a heist by his wife, Lyn, and his partner, Mal. Parker survives the double cross and then comes looking for Lyn, Mal, and his end of the heist money. Needless to say, Parker leaves a long string of bodies in his wake.

The comic version of The Hunter—unlike the long string of mediocre film adaptations of the book—is a word-for-word adaptation of the novel. So does this mean you shouldn’t read the comic if you’ve already read the novel? No, not in the least. Cooke’s illustrations add a whole new element to Stark’s morally ambiguous, hard driving prose. Each panel is rendered in monochromatic blues and blacks, giving the comic an almost cubist feel. He draws Parker with an all consuming coldness and rage; his past emotional connections to his victims are null and void, all that matters is Parker’s money.

Fans of Ed Brubaker’s ‘Criminal’ and Brian Azzarello’s ‘100 Bullets’ are going to find a lot to love about The Hunter, because without Stark and Parker, neither of the comics would exist. Simply put, The Hunter is a must own for fans of Stark and crime comics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cooke firmly cements himself as one of the greats of the comics medium, November 2, 2009
This review is from: Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter (Hardcover)
Let's get this out of the way up front: The Hunter, an adaptation of one of Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) Parker novels, expertly executed by Darwyn Cooke, is one of the best arguments for comics as a legitimate medium. Published this past July by IDW, The Hunter perfectly captures the mood and spirit of the crime thriller, as well as the time period in which it's set. Even if you've never read the original novel on which it's based, this is an amazing work and is definitely worth your time.

One of the interesting things about Parker, our protagonist, is that he's a thoroughly unlikeable guy, but you can't help but root for him throughout. That's how the character was initially described to me by Westlake's son, with whom I happen to work, before I started reading. And he's absolutely right: Parker's very first appearance has him telling a kind motorist who offers him a ride to "go to Hell," and he doesn't get much nicer from there. But the main reason we stick around is simple: Parker's out for revenge. I won't tell you too much, as discovering the reasons why he's hunting are half the joy of the story, but suffice it to say, he's striking against those who've done him wrong...very wrong. How could we not follow this story to the end?

But no matter how good your revenge tale is, the execution of its telling is what is crucial to making a work stand out. Fortunately, Darwyn Cooke is more than up to the task. Since his work often evokes a retro, '60s vibe, the fact that his rendering of the characters, settings, and layouts are perfect for this story is a given. But what truly makes this adaptation exceptional is the minimalist feel that Cooke applies to the work. Many of the pages fly by with no dialogue, narration, or significant text of any kind, particularly in the beginning of the book, but at absolutely no detriment to the understanding of the action or plot. The silence of these sequences actually adds to the feel of the book, allowing the impact of Parker's actions alone to really hit you as you read. The book is also colored with only blue, and the varying shades it can occupy, giving it even more of a noirish feel and showcasing Cooke's storytelling abilities.

The worst part about this book is simply that it ends. Once I was finished, I instantly wanted more--and I'm lucky, since I can pick up Stark's original novel or even check out some of the other many Parker stories that have been written throughout the years. Even better, the book's introduction reveals that there are three more Parker adaptations in the works by Cooke.

Of course, even without the forthcoming sequels in the series, with The Hunter Cooke firmly cements himself as one of the greats of the comics medium. Do yourself a favor: Buy this book. What are you waiting for?

-- Brian P. Rubin
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Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter
Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke (Hardcover - July 28, 2009)
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